Could the Houston Texans actually land Aidan Hutchinson at No. 3 overall?
If by some miracle Aidan Hutchinson falls to the Houston Texans with the third overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, imagine how that would propel the defense in 2022? Could the Texans finally find a player that can fill the void left by J.J. Watt last season, and is Hutchinson that player?
Though there isn’t any way the Texans can ever replace the three-time Defensive Player of the Year, it would be nice to have a superstar player with the potential to make his own name with the franchise as a pass rusher like Watt achieved in his 10 seasons with the Texans.
Hutchinson has played under former NFL head coach and player Jim Harbaugh at the University of Michigan, so the plus right away is he knows what NFL coaching is about. Hutchinson was a big reason – maybe the biggest reason – the Wolverines had one of their best seasons in recent memory as he helped his team defeat the Ohio State Buckeyes, win a Big Ten championship, and play in the College Football Playoff this past season.
Hutchinson could be the No. 1 overall pick if the Jacksonville Jaguars decide defense is more important than selecting the highest-rated offensive tackle available to protect quarterback Trevor Lawrence – last year’s No. 1 pick. The Detroit Lions could select the “hometown” player in Hutchinson with the second overall pick, or the Lions could draft another pass rusher – Kayvon Thibodeaux of Oregon who has a very high ceiling and great potential headed into this draft.
If those two things were to happen, that leaves Michigan’s Hutchinson left on the board at No. 3 overall and the Texans would have a way to add to their defensive pass rush instantly.
Even if the Texans were to pick Thibodeaux, that would be a great choice as well, but for the purposes of this article, let’s imagine Hutchinson holding up a Texans jersey after they make the third overall selection of the 2022 NFL Draft.
Houston Texans: How could Aidan Hutchinson succeed in Lovie Smith’s defense?
Here is where things become real because if Hutchinson is drafted by the Texans, he’ll have to be an automatic starter for the team that’s still rebuilding their roster. If he were to join Jonathan Greenard as the two main defensive ends, plus Ross Blacklock and even Maliek Collins on the defensive line, as those two would be interior defensive linemen, then that front four could work their way into something special.
Greenard and Blacklock will both be entering their third season in the NFL, while Collins is the veteran with six seasons under his belt already, plus Demarcus Walker now has five complete seasons as a pro as he was on the roster this past season. If the Texans decide to bring any of those players back in ’22, that is a nice core for a defensive line for Hutchinson to be added to, or Houston can add more with free agency this offseason.
Bleacher Report’s scouting report on Hutchinson says the following about his prospects in the NFL:
"“Pair all of Hutchinson’s powerful pass-rushing traits together with a tough, smart run defender, and the end result is an immediate starting edge-defender with Pro Bowl potential.”"
While at Michigan, Hutchinson – who is 6’6″ and 269 pounds – built a resume that stands out from most, gaining 14 sacks in 2021, and for his career he collected 17.5 sacks. In ’19 Hutchinson totaled 3.5 sacks as a sophomore, and in ’20 he played in just two games so that season was a wash.
Also at Michigan he finished with 27.5 tackles for loss in 36 career games, and even had 10 passes defensed, including three this past season.
Playing in Mike McDonald’s defense at Michigan will help Hutchinson in the NFL as it is more of an “NFL-style defense” as the Wolverines played in many different formations and looks, including a 4-3 look which is they style used in Smith’s Tampa 2 defense with the Houston Texans.
Playing with Smith as his head coach (and calling all the shots on defense) Hutchinson would be a no-doubt star in the NFL, and he’s the pass rusher the Texans need if he’s available – or Thibodeaux – because they do need the “impact player” and Hutchinson seems to be that style of player.
Add the knowledge gained by playing for McDonald at Michigan, then the chance of playing for Smith in the NFL where his wealth of knowledge will only make Hutchinson even better, that is a combination for success, which the Texans need moving forward in their rebuild to be contenders and a respected franchise once again.